[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of Lower Frederick Township 7-5-1994 by Ord. No. 94-1. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The following words, terms and phrases, as used in this section, shall have the following meanings given herein, unless the context specifically and clearly indicates otherwise:
- ALARM EQUIPMENT SUPPLIER
- Any person, firm or corporation who sells or leases or installs automatic protection devices.
- AUDIBLE ALARM
- Any device, bell, horn or siren which is attached to the interior or exterior of a building and emits a warning signal audible outside the building and designed to attract attention when activated by a criminal act or other emergency requiring police, fire or emergency personnel to respond.
- AUTOMATIC PROTECTION DEVICE
- An electronically, electrically, or mechanically operated instrument composed of sensory apparatus and related hardware which automatically transmits an alarm over regular telephone line by direct or indirect (through a central processing center or intermediary) connection to the police or a fire company, upon receipt of a stimulus from sensory apparatus that has detected a physical force or condition inherently characteristic of a fire or intrusion.
- FALSE ALARM
- Any signal activated by an automatic protection device, any audible alarm or any other kind of direct or indirect signal given the police or fire communication center to which police or a fire company respond, which is not the result of a fire, burglary, robbery, attempted burglary or robbery, or similar emergency.
- FIRE COMPANY
- The Lower Frederick Township Fire Company or any other company responding pursuant to any mutual aid agreement.
- Any person or persons, corporation, association, partnership, company, owner, occupant, lessee or any agency, organization, or other entity recognized by law as the subjects of rights and duties.
- POLICE or POLICE DEPARTMENT
- Any state or local police force responding to emergencies in Lower Frederick Township.
- Lower Frederick Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
- Any person who owns, leases or otherwise possesses an automatic protection device for use on any property in Lower Frederick Township.
After the enactment of this chapter, persons must equip audible alarms with a timing mechanism that will disengage the audible alarm after a maximum period of 15 minutes. Audible alarms without such a timing mechanism shall be unlawful in the Township and must be disconnected by the persons within 60 days from the effective date of this chapter. Excepted from this requirement are fire suppression systems with audible alarms activated by the flow of water.
Any sensory mechanism used in connection with an automatic protection device must be adjusted to suppress false indications of fire or intrusion, so that the device will not be actuated by impulses due to fleeting pressure changes of water pipes, short flashes of light, rattling or vibrating of doors and windows, vibrations to the premises caused by the passing of vehicles, or any other force not related to genuine alarms.
All components comprising such a device must be maintained by the user in good repair to assure maximum reliability of operation.
No persons shall conduct any test or demonstration of an automatic protection device without first obtaining permission from the police and fire company. Where the equipment is keyed through an intermediary no such permission is necessary unless the alarm or signal is to be relayed to the police or fire company.
Prior to direct connection to any police department or fire company, every automatic protection device shall be operational and tested for a period of 90 days, and certified as having been so tested on the registration form.
At the time of installation, an alarm equipment supplier shall furnish to all of its users written information as to how service may be obtained at any time, including the telephone number of an alarm equipment supplier or agent responsible for service. Such user and the alarm equipment supplier or agent supplying a service shall be responsible for having the device disconnected or repaired as quickly as possible after notice that the automatic protection device is not functioning properly.
Alarm equipment suppliers, installers of audible alarms and intermediaries shall furnish, prior to the time of contracting and at their own expense, a copy of this chapter to users of the equipment or services to be supplied.
All automatic protection devices located within the Township shall be registered with the Township prior to their installation. All presently existing automatic protection devices shall be registered within 60 days from the effective date of this chapter. There shall be no fee for registration within 60 days of this chapter or within 21 days of the installation. Any late registration, or any late registration made after a false alarm, shall require a fee as set from time to time by resolution of the Board of Supervisors of Lower Frederick Township.
Registration shall require, inter alia, all of the following information:
Name and street address of the owner, lessee or occupant of any building containing an automatic protection device.
The name, address, and telephone number of any person or entity acting as an intermediary, servicing and repair facility, or central processing facility.
Name, address and telephone number of an adult not resident in the alarmed premises able to respond to the premises within 30 minutes in the event of an emergency. Such person shall have authority and ability to enter the premises.
All locations with an automatic protection device shall have their street number address posted so that the same will be visible at night from the street.
The registration form shall contain an acknowledgment by the registrant that, in the event of an alarm, the fire company may forcibly enter the premises if warranted in the reasonable discretion of the officer in charge, and that there shall be no liability for damages or injuries resulting from the response to the call or forcible entry and appropriate search through the premises.
Any person who installs or permits to be installed in any building, used or occupied for any purpose, any answering device, audible alarm, automatic protection device or central station protection system, whereby false alarms are transmitted to the Police Department, a fire company or any other municipal office or officer, shall be in violation of this chapter.
Any person who owns, leases or occupies a building which has an answering service, audible alarm, automatic protection device or central station protective system installed, and such equipment results in continual accidental activation, shall be in violation of this chapter.
"Continual accidental activation" shall be defined to mean in excess of three alarms, resulting from any cause other than an actual emergency for which the alarm is sent whereby false alarms are transmitted to a police department, fire department or any municipal office or officer within a consecutive twelve-month period.
[Amended 4-6-1999 by Ord. No. 99-2]
When messages evidencing failure to comply with the operational requirements of this chapter are received by a fire company or police department and a representative of the police or Fire Marshal conclude that the automatic protection device should be disconnected in order to relieve the particular department of the burden of responding to false alarms, each or both is/are authorized to demand that the user of the device, or his representative, disconnect the device until it is made to comply with operational requirements. If disconnection of the defective device is not accomplished promptly and the police and/or Fire Marshal determine that the malfunctioning device is repeatedly sending false alarms without any intermittent valid alarms, they may take steps necessary to disconnect the defective automatic protection device. Any expenses so incurred by the Township shall be promptly reimbursed by the owner or lessee of the defective device.
For the purposes of enforcing this chapter, is shall be a condition of installing and maintaining an automatic protection device that the Building Inspector or the Fire Marshal or police may enter upon a user's premises within the Township at such reasonable times and upon such reasonable notice to inspect the installation or operation of an automatic protection device. Each user shall cooperate with such officials in every reasonable manner to permit such inspections.
Fines for false alarms. Any person who causes or permits more than three false alarms to occur in a consecutive twelve-month period, as described in Subsection C hereof, commits a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of not more than $300 pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 7511.
Any person who violates or permits a violation of this chapter shall, upon being found liable therefor in a civil enforcement proceeding commenced by the Township before a District Justice, pay a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $600, plus all court costs, including reasonable attorney's fees, incurred by the Township in the enforcement of this chapter. No judgment shall be imposed until the date of the determination of the violation by the District Justice. If the defendant neither pays nor timely appeals the judgment, the Township may enforce the judgment pursuant to the applicable Rules of Civil Procedure. Each day a violation exists shall constitute a separate offense. Further, the appropriate officers or agents of the Township are hereby authorized to seek equitable relief, including injunction, to enforce compliance herewith.